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When I'm 164: The new science of radical life extension, and what happens if it succeeds
(TED Books, 2012)

How long do you want to live? That is the question that bestselling science writer David Ewing Duncan asked 30,000 people in his new TED Book, When I'm 164.

While riffing on the Beatle's song "When I'm 64," the book surveys the increasingly legitimate science of radical life extension—from Healthy Living and Genetics to Regeneration and Machine Solutions—and considers the pluses and minuses of living to age 164, or beyond; everything from the impact on population and the cost of living to what happens to love, curiosity, and health. He shares classic stories and myths of people determined to defeat aging and death, and offers real-life tales of the techno-heroes and optimists who believe that technology can solve the "problem" of aging. Concluding that anti-aging technologies will probably succeed in the next 30-50 years despite his earlier skepticism, he brings us back to the age-old question: "will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm..."

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Experimental Man is out, order it now!
Experimental Man: What one man's body reveals about his future, your health, and our toxic world
(John Wiley & Sons)

"David Ewing Duncan has come up with simple but elegant conceit that yields a rich trove of information and insight about how we live now." -- Michael Pollan

"In sweeping the reader up in his quest, Duncan shows what good reporting and storytelling can do. His narrative method - part mystery tale, part voyeuristic drama - humanizes complex information, educates and entertains." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"No previous author has undergone such an extensive battery of health tests as Duncan. He puts every aspect of his biological make-up under the microscope and, in the process, gives us a brilliant view of what cutting-edge medical technology can - and cannot - tell us about our future health." -- Clive Cookson, Financial Times

"David Ewing Duncan investigates his gene pool in the informative Experimental Man..." -- Vanity Fair

"It's not often you get to read a book mailed back from the future." -- Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick at Wired

"David Ewing Duncan takes us on a deep, exhilarating dive into the hidden worlds of being human: both an erudite guide and an amazingly willing lab rat, Duncan has written a book that looks inward and outward at the same time: inward to the mysteries of the self, and outward to the horizon of our species extraordinary, and sometimes alarming, future." -- Stephen Johnson, author of The Invention of Air

"Experimental Man is brilliant, provocative timely... And a wonderful read." -- Gregory Stock, PhD, author of Redesigning Humans

From the Publisher: "Bestselling author David Ewing Duncan takes the ultimate high-tech medical exam, investigating the future impact of what's hidden deep inside all of us. Duncan takes "guinea pig" journalism to the cutting edge of science, building on award-winning articles he wrote for Wired and National Geographic, in which he was tested for hundreds of genes and chemicals associated with disease, emotions, and other traits. Expanding on these tests, he examines his genes, environment, brain, and body, exploring what they reveal about his and his family's future health, traits, and ancestry, as well as the profound impact of this new self-knowledge on society, families, individuals, and what it means to be human."

"Twenty years from now David Duncan's pioneering grand experiment will become commonplace. Duncan is measuring how both genes and environmental chemicals affect our health, by testing his own body. His self-experiment will inform, guide, and inspire the millions who will follow him in the great quest for truly personalized medicine. It's not often you get to read a book mailed back from the future, but the one you hold is just that: news from the year 2029." -- Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick at Wired and author of New Rules for the New Economy.

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Masterminds: Genius, DNA, and the Quest to Rewrite Life
(Harper Perennial)

A Best Book of the Year -- San Francisco Chronicle

This is the paperback version of The Geneticist Who Played Hoops with My DNA and other masterminds from the frontiers of biotech (Click here to find out why the title was changed). Look below under "Hoops" for a description and a sample of the book.

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See the UK Cover and new pages in the UK Edition

US Cover

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UK Cover

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The Geneticist Who Played Hoops With My DNA
and other masterminds from the frontiers of biotech

(William Morrow/HarperCollins (USA)/Fourth Estate (UK)

"...vivid, memorable portrayals of the scientists working on biology's most fascinating frontiers."
-- James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly

Read a Sample of the Book

From the William Morrow catalogue:

A highly original form of storytelling combining myth, biography, and the wit of Oliver Sacks, this is a depiction of cutting-edge science and its profound implications told through the personalities of scientists who are rewriting life on earth

Throughout history, the outsized personalities of scientists have astonished us with their brilliance and audacity. From Galileo to Jonas Salk, they push society into new realms with great leaps of inventiveness and originality, providing us with everything from the wheel to rocket ships and penicillin. Today's masterminds in biotechnology promise lifespans up to 400 years; cures for cancer; and an end to pollution. But these masterminds could also produce unintended nightmares – bioengineered lifeforms that run amuck, bioweapons, social upheavals. Which will it be: heaven or hell, or both, or neither?

For three years, award-winning writer David Ewing Duncan has interviewed over 600 people, and spent time with masterminds that include James Watson, Sydney Brenner, Paul Berg, Francis Collins, Craig Venter, Cynthia Kenyon, and others. He has written an inventive narrative about science and personality, delving into stem cells, cloning, bioengineering, and genetics by telling the stories of the characters at the fulcrum of the science. He uses a unique method of tying in age-old stories and myths -- Prometheus, Faustus, Eve, and Frankenstein -- to ask the question: can we trust these scientists?

Duncan thinks we can, but society must closely watch them and their work; also, both scientists and the public must make more of an effort to publicly discuss and understand each others points of view. Duncan has attracted international attention for his column “Biotech and Creativity”; and for his writings and NPR commentaries. He makes a powerful case that this is the most important story of our time, perhaps of all human history – that a species has the power to self-evolve.

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Calendar: Humanity's Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year
International Bestseller -- 22 Languages
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From the earliest recorded date (4236 B.C.), people have tried to organize their lives according to the movements of the sun, moon and stars--and have, for the most part, consistently gotten it wrong. In this irresistible volume, David Ewing Duncan takes us on an extraordinary journey through man's reckoning of time, ranging from one of the earliest calendars (a series of markings gouged into an eagle bone 13,000 years ago) to the atomic clocks of today, which measure time too well for an ever slowing Earth.

The adventure spans the world from Stonehenge to astronomically aligned pyramids at Giza, from Mayan observatories at Chichen Itza at the atomic clock in Washington, the world's official timekeeper since the 1960s. We visit cultures from Vedic India and Cleopatra's Egypt to Byzantium and the Elizabethan court; and meet an impressive cast of historic personages from Julius Caesar to Omar Khayyam, and giants of science such as Galileo and Copernicus. Our present calendar system predates the invention of the telescope, the mechanical clock, and the concept of zero--and its development is one of the great untold stories of science and history.

How did Pope Gregory set right a calendar which was in error by at least ten full days? What did time mean to a farmer on the Rhine in 800 A.D.? What was daily life life in the Middle Ages, when the general population reckoned births and marriages by seasons, wars, kings' reigns, and saints' days? In short, how did the world ever come to agree on what day it was? As our personal clocks tick faster and time becomes more precious each day, as we move toward the mathematically awesome threshold of a new millennium, here is a fresh, stimulating volume that answers--and raises--a host of fascinating questions about the nature of human timekeeping and the majestic historical forces that have produced the miracle of the calendar.


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Hernando de Soto: A Savage Quest in the Americas

A study of Hernando de Soto and his legendary expedition across North America examines the life of the Spanish conquistador, from his role in the conquest of Peru to his ill-fated journey through the wilderness of the New World and his destructive impact on the native peoples of the region.


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Residents:The Perils and Promise of Educating Young Doctors

This expose of the inner workings of America's medical training programs is both a stirring cry for reform of a health care system that endangers all of our lives and a collection of tense and terrifying stories of real life-or-death drama.


Fiction: Short Stories

"A Decent Night's Sleep", published in an anthology, Boats, edited by David Seybold, you can buy this collection from Amazon 

"The Raft", Published in Fathers and Sons, edited by David Seybold 

Look for more short stories to be posted soon...